After an episode, the industry says US traders will take "additional measures" against products.
Restoring operations and reducing the risk of recurrence of listeria-like events involving the withdrawal of three thousand boxes of Chilean fruit in the United States will be the core task of Rio Duero and Subsole, the exporter and packager of these controlled products by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
And it is from the industry that even if the rapid reaction revealed the effectiveness of protocols in the country for this type of situation, it is inevitable that the image will deteriorate. What is less for companies that are at least among the 25 most important in the industry.
In the case of Rio Duero, driven by its owner Diego Ruiz Tagle, its strength in the field of blueberries – where it is among the ten most important actors – is in stone fruit (or stone fruits such as apricots). ) and cherries.
In the case of Subsole – a group of major entrepreneurs such as Miguel Allamand and Eduardo Rodríguez – is one of Chile's largest exporters of fruit, with a large presence in nationwide crops, among the top five table grape operators, one of the main areas of fruit industry in the country, complemented by a broad portfolio of contacts in international markets.
Regarding the future of the operations of the two companies in the US market, the Fruit Exporters Association (Asoex) and the Federation of Fruit Producers (Fedefruta) have stated that they will continue to operate normally without anticipating stricter measures. part of the traders in that country. "While some other measures come from the buyer, but it's the first situation (registered by the FDA), so it should not be a bigger problem," said President Asoex Ronald Bown yesterday.
Relations with the US
From the fruit and vegetable sector, they have denied that this event is causing a deterioration in trade relations with the United States. In this regard, Bown said that this type of situation is repeated for the FDA, suggesting that "over the last six months I have heard about four or five listeria cases" in this country.
The leader stressed that the warning was a "preventative process" and that according to US information "there was no situation in which the consumption or the consequence of consumption of the fruit would eventually be lost." He also assured that fruits that could have bacteria, it currently does not exist because it was packed on December 27-28. "There is no stone fruit at this time, which is in good condition, this fruit is very short, and the fruit is no longer physically present," he said.
Bown said that "protocols are being followed" and that "routine self-checks performed before and after initial initial detection gave results without the presence of listeria."
He recalled that this was the first time Chile had appeared in the FDA report but stressed that the fruit had been destroyed and that the remaining part of the packing process was monitored and that the bacteria had no contamination.
According to Bown, companies have carried out follow-up inspections of the batch – in an independent laboratory – that have shown that the fruit and leaves "do not contain listeria" and have excluded their presence in local products.
Risks of bacteria
The Academic and Doctor of Nutrition at Agronomic Faculty of the Catholic University of Angelique Fellenberg pointed out that the company was behaving well with the warning of the authorities because the listeria is a bacterium that can be very serious for some groups of people. Most healthy populations only produce gastroenteritis that lasts for two or three days. On the other hand, pregnant women, immunocompromised and elderly people can have serious effects and may even cause death.
"Listeriosis, once it crosses the small intestine, has the ability to produce toxins that are very serious and can cause septicemia in the case of abortions of pregnant women and premature births and meningitis." In these groups, listeria mortality can reach 30%, it is very serious, "says Fellenberg.
He adds that it is a "zero-tolerance bacterium that can not be found in food," so the export company very well advised the target country to take appropriate precautionary measures.